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Monorail Planned for Mecca

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More than two million Muslims travel to Mecca each year to participate in the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage, which takes place over six days. To improve traffic movement, the Saudi government will build an 18-kilometer-long monorail system linking the pilgrimage sites. Trains on four elevated tracks will carry up to 20,000 pilgrims per hour, transporting as many as 500,000 pilgrims every six to eight hours. According to a report issued by the Supreme Hajj Committee, once the monorail is operating it will allow for removal of 53,000 buses and other vehicles. The monorail is being built by China Railway Construction Corp., which received a $1.8-billion contract. The system is expected to be ready for use at 35% capacity during the November 2010 Hajj, with completion the following year.

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